Yankees touch base with Cardinals on 2 promising position players

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

With the offseason underway, the Yankees have made it clear that they would like to get two left-handed hitting outfielders to bolster their lineup, and while rumors of Juan Soto and Cody Bellinger circulate, perhaps the Yankees hit up a familiar trade partner in the St. Louis Cardinals. With conversations had at the deadline, the Yankees are looking to use their surplus of pitching to add impact bats this winter and a report from Derrick Goold of STL Today details that the Yankees and Cardinals have had conversations about Alec Burleson and Brendan Donovan.

Both can hit from the left-handed side and have multiple years of control and with the Cardinals’ apparent interest in the Yankees’ young arms, the two parties could match on a pitcher-for-hitter swap.

Yankees and Cardinals Could Be Perfect Trade Partners

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins, brendan donovan, yankees
Jul 4, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Brendan Donovan (33) hits a single against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The name that stands out between the two is utilityman Brendan Donovan, whose name has popped up a few times over the offseason and could be an impact piece for the long haul. The 26-year-old put up a 118 wRC+ with a .284/.365/.422 slashline, showing off some strong base running value and slick defensive play at a variety of positions. Ranking in the 96th Percentile in Whiff Rate and hitting a career-high 11 HRs after a trip to Driveline last offseason.

Donovan is one of the most underrated players in the game, and with a bat that can sit comfortably at the top of the Yankees’ lineup, they’ll certainly be better with him hitting in front of Aaron Judge. He won’t come cheap, and for the Cardinals, pitching is exactly what they’re looking for. Clayton Beeter was listed as a name that St. Louis is interested in, and while I don’t think Beeter can headline a deal for Donovan, I believe that the Yankees could use their Major League and Minor League depth to give the Cardinals an enticing offer.

Clarke Schmidt, Jhony Brito, and Randy Vasquez all have at least four years of control and have shown promise, and while the Cardinals could aim a bit higher for somebody like Michael King, the two parties could exchange names and potentially land on a deal. For the Bronx Bombers, they know they can’t follow up a heated media availability session from Brian Cashman with a dormant offseason, and hitters from the left-handed side will prove to be a premium for the front office.

mlb: new york yankees at kansas city royals, clarke schmidt
Sep 30, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (36) pitches during the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Alec Burleson doesn’t possess the same established success at the Major League level, but he does have a decent bit of power in his bat with extremely aggressive swing decisions that could use sharpening. Entering his age-25 season, the lack of defensive value or speed makes it hard to see how he’s a fit for the Bronx Bombers, even if they really like his bat. It could be a project that they believe could get DH reps and improve their offense against right-handed pitching, but it’s a long shot.

Both parties have communicated since the deadline when the Yankees showed incredible interest in OF Dylan Carlson, but it’s unclear whether the Yankees have re-engaged in conversations for the switch-hitting outfielder. With the hot stove warming up, these two could strike a deal with how well they match up in a potential deal.

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